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Why is the audiologist-patient relationship so important?

An audiologist passionate about helping patients hear again and a patient passionate about skiing have more to gain from each other than you might think. 

Our newest Phonak hEARo, Robin Gillon, was recently fit with new hearing solutions by audiologist Dr. Schwaller in Switzerland. The experience that Dr. Schwaller and Robin had, reminds us of the important and unique relationship that forms between a hard of hearing patient and an audiologist.

The relationship between an audiologist and patient is very important because patients expect to learn all about their hearing from the audiologist they consider to be an expert. There is a high level of trust that a patient puts into their audiologist as they search for the best hearing solutions for their lifestyle.

“There is a high level of trust that a patient puts into their audiologist as they search for the best hearing solutions for their lifestyle.”

Audiologists also learn from patients by observing what hearing technology benefits patients the most. It can be a two-way street when it comes to this unique relationship. Hearing loss is an emotional journey, and an audiologist plays a big role throughout the journey.

New hearing solutions

After recently becoming a Phonak hEARo, he was ready to try out new hearing technology. The results of Robin recent hearing test surprised him as he learned that his hearing aids weren’t benefitting him as much as they used to.  

“We found out my older hearing aids were really not loud enough for me,” he says. Basically, I could have had 5-10 percent better hearing these past few years.”  

Robin also found out answers about ringing in his ear, also known as tinnitus, and why the tinnitus might be occurring. He describes how his ear suffered from stress causing his brain to start ignoring sound due to headaches that he would get. Dr. Schwaller describes this in fuller detail and is optimistic about making improvements to Robin left ear.  

“He is very sensitive to gain in the left ear,” she explains. “In technical language, we speak of a limited dynamic range. Soft sounds are perceived too soft and loud sounds too loud. The adjustment requires higher compression ratios. My goal is that He can tolerate a bit more gain in the future.” 

Robin was fit with Audeo B hearing aids and Roger Select. Due to the severity of his hearing loss, Dr. Schwaller thought that Roger Select would be very beneficial to him in many aspects.  

“This is a microphone that transmits wirelessly the speaker’ voice to Robin’s hearing aids,” she describes. “This makes Robin hear better in noisy environment or at distance. He can use it for its conversations, trainings, phone calls, TV and audio information from the computer or tablet.”

Audiologist and patient relationship 

Dr.Schwaller also described the patient-audiologist relationship as an enrichment, not just with Robin, but with other patients too. This led her to explain why it is important for people with hearing loss to regularly visit their audiologist.

“Audiologists have a specific hearing and hearing aid expertise. They know the hearing aids, know how they work and are able to adjust them. It is similar to a car. A hearing aid works well only if it has been specifically fit for the customer, the customer knows the possibilities and limitations of the technology and the hearing system. Maintenance and service are also key in order that it functions well, same as for a car”.”

Seeing patients that are overcoming obstacles that often come along with hearing loss, as Robin does, is encouraging for audiologists like Dr. Schwaller.

“Robin is an active young skier who is ready to talk about his hearing disability. I like this courage,” she says. “He shows with his openness that diminished hearing makes life more complicated, but achieving high goals is still possible. A hearing disorder is something that you should not just accept at any age, but rather can actively take action. He has always done that. Also, he speaks three languages fluently. He impresses me.”

Dr. Schwaller and Robin are an example of the close relationship between an audiologist and patient.

“Robin found his passion through skiing and mine through audiology, she says. “We both are passionate by what we do and it makes me feel closer to him.”

Stay tuned for more information about how Robin is adjusting to his new hearing technology!

If you are interested in visiting an audiologist, you can find a provider near you here.  

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The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill von Bueren, Kirsten Brackett and Lisa Goldstein.
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The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill von Bueren, Kirsten Brackett and Lisa Goldstein.